Top 5 Reasons HME Companies Need Telehealth
Being a HME company in America isn’t easy. You want to provide quality care for patients, but every year it seems to get harder. There are respiratory therapist shortages, dwindling dollars, mountains of regulations, and billing rates that are simply not adequate?
The good news is that there is a pressure-release valve, and it’s name is “HME On-Call”. If these problems sound familiar, read on for 5 reasons you should consider a telehealth solution.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, attitudes toward telehealth were mixed at best. The prevailing attitude (among the elderly in particular) was that visiting a hospital or having a provider visit the home were the “safest” options, and many people simply didn’t question whether or not this was accurate for their particular circumstances. The reasons for this range from personal habit to lack of physician adoption, but one thing that can be said for certain is that coronavirus has dramatically shifted public opinion – especially in elderly populations.
Hospitals and providers that used to be considered safe are now viewed as potential dangers – and for good reason. It makes little sense to get in-person training or troubleshooting on a piece of equipment while being potentially exposed to coronavirus.
Telehealth can mitigate unnecessary trips to patient homes, reduce hospital readmissions, and provide patient confidence that they are getting the safest form of care possible in a pandemic and post-pandemic world. This can reduce stress and at times provide working equipment faster than dispatching a technician, further contributing to the overall health of the patient.
The same reasons for mitigating exposure to patients can also apply to providers. Coronavirus has shown that danger exists not only to patients, but to clinicians and technicians entering the home environment. With the delay in onset of symptoms, challenging access to testing, and an ongoing growth of knowledge of the virus, the best answer to protect providers (and the companies that employ them) is to limit contact with patients. As such, telehealth has emerged as a powerful and necessary resource to handle all but the most essential home visits. It protects providers, preserves essential supplies, limits liability, and fosters a confidence with employees that their lives are protected and valued, resulting in both tangible and intangible benefits.
Telehealth Reduces Expenses
Is there any HME cost more unnecessary than dispatching an RT or technician to plug in a machine? The great news is that there are numerous ways that telehealth can be utilized to reduce these trips. From tracking a line problem to confirming that a GFCI outlet has been reset, telehealth can be utilized as a first line of defense before sending someone to a patient’s home.
A potentially greater, although harder to define, reduction of expenses can be found in reducing “RT Burnout”. With the current shortage in respiratory therapists, it is more important than ever to keep RTs satisfied in their job. As such, removing on-call demands – especially the unnecessary ones – goes a long way to showing respiratory therapists they are valued. This boosts morale and reduces attrition, reducing the HR burden associated with replacing an RT, as well as the costs associated with downtime.
The Competitive Edge
Telehealth is still in its infancy – especially in the HME/DME space. As with most new technological solutions, those who reap the greatest benefits are those who adopt the changes early enough to maintain a competitive edge. The use of telehealth can be communicated to your clients – providing another value-add that shows you are on top of industry changes. The associated benefits to patient and provider health are selling points that can position your company as the vendor of choice. Speaking of positioning, it also allows the ability to scale your business in ways previously unattainable as some of the limits of time and space are removed from everyday tasks.
Moving a step beyond patient safety, we can begin to focus on areas of customer service. Telehealth technology and workflow can provide a level of patient feedback that is consistent and reportable. Is the technician or provider representing your company well? What areas of improvement or innovation can be found? Giving the patient a voice while taking care of their problems remotely can be a powerful way to create lasting relationships with your company without sacrificing time or money.
Making the Move to a HME Telehealth Solution
rtNOW pioneered a HME telehealth solution called “HME On-Call” – a service that provides telerespiratory therapists to HME patients up to 24/7/365. HIPAA-compliant telehealth software is utilized, and the therapists are trained to troubleshoot HME equipment in any state. If your HME company has trouble with “RT Burnout”, unnecessary dispatches, and patient/provider safety, then visit rtnow.net/HME, call (833) 786- 6948, or email Curt Merriman at firstname.lastname@example.org.